Today the Indian society is mainly divided on the lines of Brahmins and Non Brahmins. It is not very difficult to understand that such a division of the society is not provided for either in the dharma shAstra-s or the vedas. This man-made division is the height of absurdity considering the fact that vedas do not sanction such a division as the kShatriya-s & vaishya-s are considered to be equal to the Brahmins insofar as the study of veda-s and vedic practices are concerned. Just like brAhman the kShatriya & vaishya are also entitled to upanayana samskAra and gAyatri as is evident from different gRhyasUtra-s for eg, Apastamba says :
“ गर्भाष्टमेषु ब्राह्मणं, गर्भैकादशेषु राजन्यं, गर्भाद्वादशेषु वैश्यम्।। (आपस्तम्बः)” in the eighth year from conception i.e. the 7th year from birth, the brAhman should be intitiated into gAyatri. Similarly, in the 10th year from birth for kShatriya and 11th year for vaishya
brAhmaNaH kShatriyo vaishyaH trayo varNAH dvijAdayaH
saMskRtAshcAnyathA shUdrAH evaM vedavido viduH
tasmAdayaM suto me.adyaH shUdravat vartate shishuH
upanItaH kriyArhaH syAt iti vedeShu nirNayaH
rAjJAmekAdashe varShe sadopanayanaM smRtaM
aShTame brAhmaNAnAM ca vaishyAnAM dvAdashe kila (devI bhAgavata 7-7)
“The three varNa-s of brAhmaNa, kShatriya and vaishya are dvija (twice born) only if they undergo the upanayana saMskAra otherwise they are indeed considered to be shUdra in the absence of saMskAra”
How then did the kShatriya-s & vaishya-s came to be grouped as “non-brahmins” ? Grouping of certain varNa-s as non-brahmins is therefore unwarranted and uncalled for. It must also be understood that the words ‘varNa’ & ‘jAti’ stand for entirely different concepts and the word varNa cannot by any stretch of imagination be used to mean a particular caste or jAti. It is therefore worthwhile to understand the true concept of varNa.
The entire creation is in the form of three energies namely “brahma” (ब्रह्म) , “kShatra” (क्षत्र) & “visha” (विश). For transactional purposes i.e. lokanirvAha in connection with religious rites pertaining to both daiva (दैव) & mAnuSha (मानुष) the created beings became four fold, into the four varNa-s. It must be understood that the varNa-s are not unique to human creation alone but obtains even in the created divine beings. It is therefore amply clear that the classification into the four varNa-s of the created beings does not actually make a particular varNa superior or inferior to the other varNa-s. Otherwise it would tantamount to attributing superiority or inferiority to the divine beings too.
In all the sacrificial rites of the veda-s, the first offering is given to prajApati, indra, agni & soma. the first ablutions are प्रजापतये स्वाहा | इन्द्राय स्वाहा | अग्नये स्वाहा | सोमाय स्वाहा | offered to prajApati, indra, agni & soma and only thereafter the other devata-s are offered havirbhAga. Here prajApati is defined as brAhman, indra as kShatriya, agni as brAhmana and soma as the king of the brAhmaNa-s here. So Obviously, all are treated with due respects without any deva being treated as superior or inferior. “सोमोस्माकं ब्राह्मणानां राजेत्याह |” “ब्रह्म ह्यग्निः |” “क्षत्रमिन्द्रः|” are but a few of the countless reference to the varNa classification of the divinities in the veda-s.
Further, a prayer to agni in the beginning of yAga goes thus :
“रुचं नो धेहि ब्राह्मणेषु रुचं राजसु नस्कृधि | रुचं विश्येषु शूद्रेषु मयि धेहि रुचा रुचं |”
“rucaM no dhehi brAhmaNeShu rucaM rAjasu naskRdhi | rucaM vishyeShu shUdreShu mayi dhehi rucA rucaM |”
(YV. Mula samhita K.5. P.7 A.6. - 3 and 4)
which is a prayer to the agni to “bestow upon us the radiance of the brAhmaNa-s, kShatriya-s, vaishya-s & shUdra-s”. Had the kShatriya or vaishya or shUdra been inferior to the brAhmaNa-s, would anyone pray for the energies of these varNa-s?
It must be understood that the varNa classification exists among the devas, the gems, the nine planets, in the animals and even in the letters of sanskrit. “vaiDUrya” (cat’s eye) a particular gem is classified as brAhmaNa, kshatriya, vaishya & shUdra based on its variation in color. Among the nine planets, the sun is kShatriya, but shani, the son of sun is a shUdra. Similarly, budha is classified as a vaishya. But budha is stated to be the son born to chandra & tArA. guru & shukra are stated to be brAhmaNa-s. Now which of the nine planets is superior or inferior ? The soil of the earth is also subject to these varNa classification. By mixing different varNa-s of soil, fertility that is lost can be restored. The soil that has lost its fertility, though called by its original name, can never have the original characteristics unless mixed with fresh fertile soil. In the creation of humans also, the varnas are subject to changes arising out of various reasons. Manu smRti says a brAhmaNa can become a vaishya in three days if he resorts to selling milk. By indulging in trade, a brAhmaNa will become a vaishya. Similarly a shUdra can become a brAhmaNa by reciting gAyatri. There are umpteen instances of the so called shUdra-s attaining brAhman-hood. Hence, the varNa-s were never created or conceived as water tight compartments. The difference in the varNa-s was actually meant for evolution of mankind by improving the divine powers of “brahma” “kShatra” & “viT” energies through penance and religious practices as enjoined in the veda-s and definitely not for creating inequality or complexes and animosity in the minds of people. By the increase of divine power, the self and the society as a whole and the nation can attain comfort and happiness.